MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) made history at Valencia today, becoming the youngest premier-class king since the birth of the motorcycling World Championships in 1949. The remarkable rookie secured the title with a perfectly judged ride to third place behind team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) and race winner and outgoing champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Marquez – aged 20 years and 266 days – comfortably beat the previous youngest champion record, held by Honda's first premier-class king Freddie Spencer, who was 21 years and 258 days old when he won the title at Imola, Italy, on 4 September 1983. Marquez is Honda's 16th World Champion in the elite 500cc/MotoGP categories.
Following his six race victories earlier in the year – another record for a rookie – Marquez arrived at Valencia 13 points in front of Lorenzo. Thus Marquez knew that if Lorenzo won today's race, he ‘only' needed to finish fourth to make sure of his place in history. But the season finale – watched by a raucous capacity crowd at the stadium-style Valencia venue – was anything but straightforward.
Marquez didn't get the best of starts from pole position – his ninth pole from 18 races – and finished the first lap in third place behind leader Lorenzo and Pedrosa, the winner here in 2007, 2009 and 2012. Pedrosa attacked Lorenzo repeatedly, often getting ahead, only for Lorenzo to come right back at him, including one move at Turn Two that brought the pair into collision and came under investigation from Race Direction.
Lorenzo's tactics were simple: by chopping back and forth with Pedrosa he hoped to slow the leading pace and bring as many riders as possible into the lead group. He would then let fate play its hand and hope that other riders might relegate Marquez to fifth place or lower. However, the strategy failed. The second group of Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Alvaro Bautista (Honda) wasn't quite quick enough to join the fight at the front.
Lorenzo's collision with Pedrosa at Turn Two at one-third distance allowed Marquez to sweep into the lead, but with no need for him to take risks, it wasn't long before Lorenzo was back in front. Pedrosa was less lucky when Lorenzo slammed into him – he ran off the track and had Bautista and Rossi come by.
By half-distance Marquez seemed safe – he was running a comfortable second – but then Pedrosa passed Rossi and Bautista and set off after his team-mate. Marquez, who was executing some glorious high-speed slides through the fast Turn 13, did the sensible thing on lap 26 and let Pedrosa past into second place.
And that's the way it finished: Lorenzo, Pedrosa and then Marquez, who crossed the line in ecstasy before stopping on the slowdown lap and hurling his gloves into the tumultuous crowd. After 18 races – his first 18 races in the class – he had beaten twice MotoGP World Champion Lorenzo by four points.
Unlike the top three, Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) chose the softer rear tire and was able to run just behind the leaders while Lorenzo tried to slow the pace. But the Spaniard wasn't keen to get involved in the three-way battle up front because he wanted to give fellow Honda riders Pedrosa and Marquez a clean run up front. Finally he finished fifth, four seconds behind Rossi.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) spent much of the race alone, gaining one position when Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) crashed out in front of him and eventually crossing the line in sixth place, almost ten seconds down on Bautista.
Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) had another difficult run in his final MotoGP outing, coming home in 19th position.
Nicolas Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) won his third victory of the year in the Honda-powered Moto2 series, inheriting and never relinquishing the lead after runaway early leader and recently crowned World Champion Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) crashed out of the lead on the eighth of 37 laps.
For a while, Terol had Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up) on his tail, but gradually he pulled away to establish a comfortable advantage and cross the finish line four seconds ahead of Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter), who is still getting around the paddock on crutches, following a big spill in Japan two weeks ago.
Torres passed Corsi with six laps to go and worked hard to gain a gap on the Italian who then came under pressure from Johann Zarco (Came Ioda Racing Project Suter). The Italian and the Frenchman were neck and neck, Zarco getting a better drive out of the final turn to pass the checkered flag alongside Corsi. At first the timing screens had Corsi down as the final podium finisher, but moments later the final results had Zarco third by just one thousandth of a second.
Behind the top four, the mid-pack Moto2 battle was typically intense, with Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) breaking clear of the multitude to claim fifth. The next three finishers Alex De Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up), Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Suter) and Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team Speed Up) were separated by less than two seconds.
Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), who had led the World Championship until he crashed and broke a wrist in Australia three weeks ago, struggled to 15th. Espargaro remounted after his tumble and finished 29th.
Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) had a stunning ride to sixth place in the title-deciding Moto3 race, despite having to start the race from pit lane after his bike refused to fire for the warm-up lap.
The Frenchman was dead last at the end of the first lap but he kept his head and charged through the pack, even though this track is notoriously difficult for overtaking. By half-distance he had already climbed to 11th, but the closer you get to the front, the harder it is to pass.
The last man he overtook was Spaniard Isaac Vinales (Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda), who crossed the line seventh, a fraction of a second behind Masbou, in the midst of a seven-rider gang disputing positions.
Honda's other big star of the race was Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) who was running fifth in the leading group – headed by title-fighters Maverick Vinales, Alex Rins and Luis Salom – until he tumbled out in the closing stages. Nonetheless he remains seventh overall in the World Championship final standings, just ahead of Masbou.
The title was won by Maverick Vinales, who got the better of Rins at the very final corner. Salom had fallen earlier, remounting to finish 14th.
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) ended the season in 11th place, less than two tenths outside the top ten. The last Honda rider in the points was Matteo Ferrari (Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) in 15th position.
The 2014 preseason testing season begins tomorrow at Valencia, when most MotoGP riders will test their next year's prototypes. Moto2 and Moto3 riders start at Jerez later in the week.
|1||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|4||Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)|
|6||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|7||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|8||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|9||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|10||Michele PIRRO (Ducati Test Team)|
|11||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|12||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Blusens)|
|13||Claudio CORTI (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|14||Danilo PETRUCCI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|15||Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|1||Nicolas TEROL (Aspar Team Moto2)|
|2||Jordi TORRES (Aspar Team Moto2)|
|3||Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|4||Simone CORSI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|5||Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)|
|6||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|7||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2)|
|8||Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)|
|9||Mattia PASINI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|10||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|11||Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|12||Xavier SIMEON (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team)|
|13||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|14||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|15||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|1||Maverick VIÑALES (Team Calvo)|
|2||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|3||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|4||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|5||Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)|
|6||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|7||Isaac VIÑALES (Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|8||Ana CARRASCO (Team Calvo)|
|9||Philipp OETTL (Interwetten Moto3 Racing)|
|10||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|11||Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)|
|12||Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)|
|13||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|14||Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|15||Matteo FERRARI (Ongetta-Centro Seta)|